molo mimi has been created by Lisa Nettelton, aka mimi who works from Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape Province.
I was born and educated in the Eastern Cape, studied at Stellenbosch University, (BA Graphic Design), majoring in illustration; worked briefly in the industry then moved on to retail, conceptualizing, producing and managing these outlets.
I prefer to combine a variety of disciplines, products and mediums, incorporating as many complementary themes as possible. Essentially, my expression is eclectic, combining old and new, with an appreciation for contrasts in every sphere.
Different cultures and belief systems inspire me. This is what shapes our perceptions of the world. Working with perceptions challenges me to see things in new ways, recreating and constructing and layering the creative process with a juxtaposition of opposites – the familiar and unfamiliar and the recognizable and unrecognizable. In so doing, perceptions are challenged and hopefully refreshed. This can be done on many sensory levels. Personally, I appreciate the more tactile stimulus.
I have always involved myself in crafts and, more especially, product development having volunteered my time in the winter months to organizations such as Philani (Khayalitsha, Cape Town). This and subsequent experience has given me a greater understanding of the process and the sociological implications of sustaining the business of arts and crafts.
I have come to believe that offering a work environment that teaches the individual, with support and encouragement is most empowering and there is the added benefit of a secure income.
Always keeping an eye on trends and the relationship to their geographical and social orientation is a focus. With globalization and improved communication we are privileged to experience a much wider sphere of influence.
As South Africa develops its own style we are stitching a unique niche.
After completing a course in free-stitch and using my Grandmothers Bernina sewing machine. I started sewing in my spare time and into the early hours of the morning. The technique is therapeutic and possibly even addictive as the rhythm hypnotises your mind, allowing your heart to lead you over the textures.
I started creating fabrics to stretch onto frames and slowly started selling these artworks to local folk … followed by an Exhibition in Cape Town.
The response was enthusiastic as people found the application refreshing and innovative.
I met Thabisa Kameni who was a domestic cleaner working in neighbouring homes. She was fascinated by the work and expressed a desire to learn. After demonstrating the technique, Thabisa was quick to learn and teaching the technique led to adapting methods for easier application and resulted in the development of unique methodology with which we are constantly experimenting and adapting to work for us in the furtherance of our mutual creative instincts.
Initially, I employed Thabisa twice a week but soon after the exhibition I was able to offer her full-time employment. A year and a half later – we have a creative synergy and an ability to communicate that transcends the boundaries of language and culture.
The journey together has been dynamic and supportive, resulting in a work environment that uplifts, inspires and motivates us to produce innovative threads which have a multitude of applications which we are constantly unravelling in our vision.